Believe it or not, there are a couple of games this weekend featuring a number New York’s outstanding seniors from last fall.
The first New York State High School Football Classic kicks off Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Approximately 100 players are expected to suit up in the game, which has an Upstate vs. Downstate format as the replacement for the all-star series against New Jersey that ended two years ago after the coaches organizations from the respective states could not agree on sites for the game.
The Upstate squad is being coached by Dick Diminuco, who just completed his first season at Alden after winning more that 200 games at Albion. Leading the staff of assistants is retired Fairport coach Don Santini, himself a 200-game winner, and Hamburg’s Pat Cauley is the defensive coordinator.
Albion’s Brad Pritchard (a former player for Diminuco), East (Rochester)’s Jim Laemlein and Amherst’s Chris Kensy will assist, and Alden coaches Tom Zaccardo and Rob Currin were also named to the staff, which should help the coaches install a system when three days of practice commence Thursday.
Long Island Roosevelt coach Joe Vito is running the Downstate team, with Oceanside’s Rick Voight as his assistant head coach and special teams coordinator. Oceanside head coach Rob Blount is the offensive coordinator, with Sachem North (Lake Ronkonkoma)’s Dave Falco running the defense.
Lawrence (Cedarhurst) assistants Joe Martillotti (the incoming head coach) and Joe Supple, Valley Stream’s John Kostkwoicz, Riverhead’s Leif Shay, Sachem North’s Dave Caputo and Bay Shore’s Jim Giantiano round out the staff.
At the same time the New York game kicks off, the New Jersey versus the Northeast All-Star Classic will be kicking off at Rutgers Stadium. Four New Yorkers, including linebacker Jimmy Gaines (Canisius/University of Miami, Fla.) and tight end Jerome Lewis (Bishop Kearney of Rochester/Virginia Tech) have opted to participate in that contest.
Baseball: GW coach is 90 percent of the way there
Friday’s 1-0 victory over Francis Lewis was special to Steve Mandl for reasons beyond the fact that it advanced Washington (New York) to the third round of the PSAL Class A baseball championships. Nestor Bautista’s 15-striekout no-hitter was Mandl’s 900th career victory.
Though the amazing streak of 25 division championships ended in 2009, Mandl has built GW into the PSAL’s 800-pound gorilla. Besides a 900-108 career record and two city titles, Mandl can boast of developing some top-shelf talent over the years, including Manny Ramirez and Alex Arias. He is second all-time in PSAL victories to James Monroe’s Mike Turo, who went over the 1,000 mark last month.
"When you speak of the Trojans, you speak of Steve Mandl," senior second baseman Xyruse Martinez told The New York Post.
Mandl landed at George Washington in 1984 after an injury ended his ambition to play at the pro level. He managed the Montreal Expos’ New York-Penn League team in 1989 and could have moved up in the organization, but returned to GW for good that fall.
"This is more gratifying to me," he said. "You’re taking a young kid and you know you’re making a big impact on his life."
More baseball: Pitch counts likely a reality soon
New York City councilmen Oliver Koppell and Lewis Fidler want a local law setting pitch-count limits for high school hurlers next season. The idea, which might be implemented by the PSAL regardless of whether a law is passed, isn't going over especially well.
"We've all heard about it, and a lot of coaches are frowning upon it," Turo told The Daily News. "Basically, who are these guys to tell me how to run my ballclub?"
"Overall, there's going to be some kind of restriction," says Francis Lewis coach Ian Millman. "I can understand why they're doing it, but it's going to really hamper some coaches who know what they're looking at."
The PSAL has asked coaches to log game-by-game counts on the league's Web site this spring so that it will have data to review, Department of Education spokeswoman Margie Feinberg said. PSAL executive director Donald Douglas said the league's goal is to have pitch-count limits next spring.
Girls lacrosse: Victor coach making it all the way back
Victor's 20-3 victory over Churchville-Chili behind four Amanda Kidder goals in the Section V Class B girls lacrosse quarterfinals last week was another huge step forward for both the emerging program and its coach.
Mike Myers, 43, had surgery Sept. 24 to remove most of a golf ball-sized brain tumor and hasn't missed a day of teaching since returning Dec. 8 despite several rounds of radiation and chemotherapy that have him on the way to what appears to be a full recovery.
"There's like a whole new reason to play now," said senior defender Rachel Haslinger. "We're doing it for him and for us."
In the months after surgery, teachers and parents made meals three days a week to lessen the load on Kary Myers so she could focus on her husband's recovery.
"I'm lucky in so many ways," Mike Myers told the Democrat and Chronicle.
On Saturday, the Blue Devils’ roll continued with an 8-6 shocker over perennial Section V power Brighton as freshman goalie Jenny Ryan made 14 saves. Victor (14-4) will advance to its first final against defending champ Canandaigua on Wednesday.
John Schiano, who has written about high school sports in western and central New York for more than 25 years, covers New York for MaxPreps. He may be reached at